Haroldo Mauro Jr.: Bossa Na Pressao (2006)
It seems obligatory on a bossa nova outing to include some Jobim tunes. Brazilian pianist Haroldo Mauro takes care of that duty on the opener of his debut CD, Bossa Na Pressao, with the classic "Caminhos Cruzados." It's a standard bossa nova, but in the way that the late Bill Evans' take on "Witchcraft," from Portraits in Jazz (Riverside, '59), was an American Songbook standardwith a richly developed harmonic freshness, subtle yet inventive improvisaton, and vibrantly original trio interplay.
The Bill Evans Trio comparisonespecially the tragically short-lived Evans/La Faro/Motion lineupis not one to be brought up lightly, but listen to Sergio Barrozo's bass on Mauro's original "Quietude"a big, thick center for Mauro's light, glowingly pretty melody, plus drummer Duduka da Fonseca's pastel splashes and delicately insistent timekeeping.
The disc includes a couple more Jobim tunes, "Voce Vai Ver" and the much-covered "Desafinado" (bright and up-tempo), in addition to familiar bossa tunes from the pens of Mendonca, Moraes and Lyra, as well as five excellent Mauro originals.
Haroldo Mauro Jr. is new and a bit of mystery to this writer. He attended Berklee School of Music (1972-73) and the Manhattan School of Music (1981-83) and currently teaches at the University of Rio de Janeiro. But Bossa Na Pressao features liner notes in Portuguese, and a trip to the pianist/composer's web site shows a biography "under construction." But there's no mystery to this piano trio take on bossa nova, with light and gorgeous sounds floating over the trio's contrasting richness and depth. A mesmerizing listening experience, from beginning to end.
Track Listing: Caminhos Cruzados; Rua Juquia; Sabor Carioca; Leda; Voce Vai Ver; Big Sur; Quietude; Terra De Angara; Lele Do Coracao; Coisa Mais Linda; Desafinado; Depois Da Natal.
Personnel: Haroldo Mauro Jr.: piano; Duduka da Fonseca: drums; Sergio Barrazo: accoustic bass.